Malta hosts UN-led political dialogue on Libya • Vella warns against partitioning country

Libya’s ‘precarious and very difficult’ situation this morning during a political dialogue meeting which included UN special envoy Martin Kobler

Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella addressing the Libyan Political Dialogue
Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella addressing the Libyan Political Dialogue

Malta is hosting a Libyan political dialogue meeting which is being held under the auspices of the United Nations, together with the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Martin Kobler.

Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella, who addressed the meeting this morning, was quoted in a ministry press statement saying that Malta was “proud” to host the meeting.

“This makes us proud for two reasons: firstly, because it is testimony to the close friendship that still exists between the Maltese and Libyans and, secondly, because you are giving us an opportunity to contribute directly in the search for a solution to your country's problems,” the press statement read.

Vella said he was saddened by the way things developed in Libya, still creating so much hardship and loss of life amongst Libyan families.

He said that such a situation cannot be tolerated any longer, and that investing in dialogue was much more beneficial than investing in armaments.

Vella reiterated that Libya's problems must be solved by the Libyans: “Malta, together with the international community, is only facilitating the process. Facilitating and assisting does not equate to dictating what has to be done.”

Vella insisted that the international community did not want to interfere in Libya's internal affairs: “It is up to the Libyans themselves to decide what shape and form their institutions should take as well as who should govern their country.  I realize that these early steps are difficult but decisions need to be taken.”

Vella urged participants to find a convincing way of making the political greement acceptable to all Libyans, so that eventually a Government of National Accord is endorsed without further procrastination. 

“I reiterate that Libyans should do this.  It is in your interest to do it.  Do it, not for us, but for yourselves, for your children, for your country and for future generations.  Reason should prevail over hard-headedness, hope over fear, and dialogue and understanding over fighting and violence,” the minister said. 

Vella said that recent talk of a possible partitioning of the country would bring disastrous consequences to all Libyans. “On the contrary, Libya should remain intact, and all efforts must be dedicated towards preserving the total unity and territorial integrity of Libya.”

The meeting comes in the wake of a deteriorating political situation in Libya. The Political Dialogue, representative of the majority of all regions, aims to assist the Presidential Council headed by Fayez Serraj in finding a way through the complicated political and economic issues facing Libya.

This is the first time, following the signing of the Schirat Agreement last year, that the Political Dialogue is meeting in a location other than Tunis.

Around 30 members are actively participating in the meeting, the foreign affairs ministry said.